Once a thriving small town, Covehithe is now just a quiet settlement on the Suffolk coast north of Southwold. Losing nearly 5 metres of it's sandstone cliffs a year to the power of the North Sea earn it the dubious honour of having the highest rate of erosion in the country. It is also my photographic nemesis.
We all have those don't we? That one location where things just never go our way? However interesting or beautiful the place is, the compositions or the conditions just don't come together. An unsuccessful trip is just one of those things, we can't (unfortunately) control the weather, we can't always find the composition we want or sometimes that creative 'zone' just alludes us. After a handful of those trips, with less than a handful of pictures of any worth to show for it, that place starts to take on a sinister quality though and the thought of going back yet again becomes less than appealing. Covehithe is that place for me, but memories of wasted early starts and long fruitless drives soon fade and it was working it's way back up to the top of my list.
I usually do my landscape photography in the golden hours at the start or end of the day, it's not a rule or anything, just a habit. Last Sunday however, boring clear skies were forecast for sunrise so I broke with my usual habits and treated myself to a lie in. Instead, I decided to head out for a walk later on, armed only with my camera. No getting up early, no planning, no checking tides, forecasts or sun positions and none of the pressure to get results that all of that effort sometimes brings. It was time to tackle my nemesis.
Midday possibly isn't the ideal time of day for such a challenge. The midday sun sends shivers down the spines of most landscape photographers who shy away from the harsh light like tripod wielding vampires. I was planning to shoot in black and white though and for that I actually like the contrast that a brighter day brings. Add to that the fluffy white clouds and threatening dark ones that were scudding across the sky, occasionally masking the sun's brightness or casting their shadows across the landscape and things were looking good. I was prepared for the task ahead.
Ok, maybe I'm getting carried away here but with several projects on the go, I must admit to feeling the pressure to produce lately and wandering along the cliff tops with no plan in mind was a welcome change of pace. I still haven't totally conquered my enemy but I've taken a step in the right direction and I can live with that.